Category: iTunes

Get Your Music on iTunes and Spotify: Digital Distribution with ONErpm

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

When it comes to digitally distributing your music, there are options galore. From the heavyweights like CD Baby and The Orchard, to smaller companies like Mondotunes, you have options, and can pick the distribution company that is exactly right for you.

In this article we are going to take a look at ONErpm. ONEprm is a digital distribution service based in Brooklyn, NY, with offices in Brazil, and a new office opening in Nashville. They are an iTunes preferred partner, as well as one of the largest multi-channel networks on YouTube. They have quite a few options for independent musicians and labels that distribute through them, and we’re going to give you the run down of their most notable features.  Lets look at what your options are if you choose ONEprm as your digital distributor.


ONEprm has 2 main pricing options. But a great feature of ONErpm is their free distribution service.

  • Premium Package-a one time fee of $40 per album, or $15 per single. With the Premium Package, they also take a 15% cut of royalties.
  • Arena Package– an annual fee of $30 per album, or $15 per single. You get to keep 100% of your royalties (besides Youtube, but we’ll get into that later).
  • Free Option– ONErpm also has a free distribution tier. This option will distribute your music to Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and more. If you choose the free option, you can still opt-in to other  stores, you just have to pay a small fee per store. Adding an album to iTunes is only $5, and since ONErpm is a preferred partner, your music could go live in less than 48 hours. This is a really cool option for a single that you only want to release in limited formats, or if you are using streaming services as a marketing tool instead of a distributor.

ONErpm Pricing

All major retailers are included in ONErpm’s digital distribution, although you will have to pay extra for ringtone stores and services like Shazam.

ONErpm Stores
Digital Distribution Options on ONErpm

ONErpm’s services will cover all your basic digital distribution needs, but ONErpm stands out with a few features that aren’t offered on other digital distribution platforms.

YouTube Certified

One of the major advantages of digitally distributing with ONErpm is their relationship with YouTube. Right now, YouTube is the number one music streaming service in the world, and their music infrastructure is only set to grow. ONErpm is a YouTube certified company, and they have one of the largest multi-channel networks in the world. A multi-channel network, or MCN, is simply a company that works with channel owners to effectively monetize their channel, provide digital rights management, funding, and audience management.

When you distribute your music through ONErpm, you have the option to distribute to YouTube. This doesn’t mean that your music automatically get uploaded onto a YouTube channel, it simply means that ONErpm  enters your music into YouTube’s ContentID. When your music is identified in YouTube’s system, you can manage how your music is being used. This means that when people use your songs in their videos, or even re-upload a video that you created, you can locate those videos, and either issue a take-down notice, or file a claim to receive revenue on that video.

ONErpm’s unique connection to YouTube can also help you get extra revenue from your own videos, since ONErpm works directly with advertisers to negotiate a higher ad rate for their channels. They will also help you optimize your YouTube channel for monetization.

ONErpm Youtube

Being a part of ONErpm’s MCN is free and open to any YouTube creator, even if you aren’t a musician, or don’t choose to distribute your music through ONErpm. A nice bonus if you live in the NYC area is that ONErpm has a video production studio that you have free access to as a member of their MCN.

A downside to ONErpm’s YouTube services is that ONErpm takes a 30% cut of all revenue generated from YouTube. However,  it may be worth it to let ONErpm handle your YouTube revenue if the money you gain from their higher ad prices equals out the 30% you pay them for managing your account.

If YouTube is an important part of your music, and you’re interested in joining an MCN, ONErpm might be the best distributing option for you. Neither Tunecore or CD Baby offer YouTube ContentID tracking, and they don’t have an MCN.

Marketing Resources

ONErpm also has several marketing options for artists. Their basic package includes social media management, verified profiles on streaming services, and email marketing. You can also upgrade to their specialized marketing services.

ONErpm Marketing

Much like CD Baby, fans can also go directly to your profile on ONErpm’s website and download music there. ONErpm has several pricing tiers, and lets you choose which one best fits you. In addition to setting your own prices for your downloads, you have the option to give away a free download in exchange for an email address. You can then download those emails and export them into whatever program you use to send email newsletters.

ONErpm also provides a free Facebook app that lets fans download music directly from your Facebook page. You can use this app to sell singles, full albums, or give away a download in exchange for an email. You can make this app the landing page for your band’s Facebook profile, and use “fan-gating” to ask users to like your page before they have the option to download your music.

ONErpm also gives you analytics, and monthly sales reports. You get paid through Paypal, and can withdraw funds whenever you like.

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Your Choice

ONErpm’s digital distribution has some great benefits, and they offer a great deal of flexibility to artists in terms of services and price points. This personalization helps makes them a good choice for indie artists.

ONErpm might be the right distributor for you if:

  • You are interested in flexible pricing options, or free distribution to streaming services
  • You would like to sell your music directly on Facebook
  • You are interested in joining a YouTube MCN, and want someone to help you monetize your YouTube account.
  • You want your distributor to give you marketing support.

As you are looking for a digital distributor, keep your individual needs in mind. With so many companies offering similar services, make sure you find the company that best fits your needs as an artist.

Have you used ONErpm? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Add Your Music to Gracenote in 5 Easy Steps

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Here’s the scenario: Your fan just bought a CD at a show. They are so excited to listen to it that they immediately take it out of the package and put it into the CD player in their car. After having it in their car for a few weeks, they finally decide to take it inside and add your music to their iTunes library. They put the CD into their computer, and iTunes pops up to import it. But no track or artist information is listed.  Unfortunately, they left the CD packaging in the car and don’t remember all the titles to your songs. They still import it, but your music gets moved down to the bottom of the their music library, with no way to distinguish it from all the other annoying untitled tracks.

This is a problem that can be easily solved. Gracenote is a music recognition service that is employed by many major music retailers and other music services to provide metadata about music files.

Metadata is data about other data. It seems complicated, but actually it’s pretty simple. If you have an mp3 file (the original data), the metadata (data about the original data) might include the artist name, track name, album name, genre, or even the album artwork.

It’s important to have this metadata attached to your files so that you music can be recognized easily, and Gracenote is the most widely used way to make this data available.

Getting Your Music To Gracenote

The great thing about Gracenote is that it is really simple. There are two ways to add your music to their database.

Digital Distribution

If you are distributing your music digitally, Gracenote might be included in your distribution pack. This is the most convenient way to upload your metadata, because your distributor already has all the information.

Major online distributors like TuneCore, and CD Baby (Gracenote is included in their Mega Distribution bundle) will add your metadata information when you upload your files. As long as you entered all the information correctly when you submitted your music, all your metadata information will be correct.

Manually Entering Information

If you are not using an aggregator that automatically uploads metadata to Gracenote, don’t worry. Entering your metadata is an incredibly easy process.

Step One: Simply put your CD into your computer, or upload an mp3 into your iTunes library. However, if you just upload an mp3, make sure it is a finished—hopefully mastered—product, because Gracenote uses the duration of your songs to recognize them in iTunes.Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.33.47 AM

Step Two: Gracenote might show you a fuzzy matches dialog box of albums that could be matches. Close this box if it pops up.

Step Three: Right click on one of the track names and choose the option “Get Info.”Get Info

Step Four: Enter all the information for each song exactly as you want the metadata to appear. Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 10.59.02 AM

Step Five: If you are using the latest version of iTunes, there will be a button on the right that says “Options.” Click this button and choose  “Submit CD Track Names…”Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 10.56.24 AM

A dialog box to choose a genre will pop up if the genre you have currently selected is not supported by Gracenote.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.00.10 AM

Click the submit button, wait 2-3 days and then insert your CD again. Your metadata will either be automatically entered, or you will choose from a list of albums that exactly match the duration of each of your songs. Mine only had one other exact match, so it was easy for me (and my fans!) to find the correct information.Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.00.34 AM

If you have any more questions, or your metadata hasn’t appeared after a few days, you can visit Gracenote’s official site to get some help.

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Apple Music Streaming: What It Means for the Independent Artist

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Yesterday, Apple unveiled its new music streaming service. While Apple’s release of iTunes revolutionized how the world buys music, they have been slow to enter the world of streaming.

The announcement came with all the bells and whistles that normally accompany Apple’s tech releases… but, for independent musicians, the announcement likely raises more questions than it answers.

The Basics

For the new service, Apple will charge $9.99 per month for streaming and radio services. Alternatively, users can choose a family plan (for up to six people) for $14.99 a month. Apple Music streaming will offer curated playlists, radio stations, complete integration with iTunes, and a new artist-to-fan social feature called Connect.

What Will It Pay?

Noticeably absent from all information offered by Apple is the amount that Apple Music will pay artists.

Unlike other streaming platforms, there is no free tier on Apple music. This is good news for the makers of music, as it should increase the amount of money paid to rights owners. However, if the payment structure looks anything like those of Spotify or Pandora, independent musicians will still be getting the smallest piece of a very small pie. The music streaming industry as a whole is not friendly to independent musicians.

It appears that Apple Music will not be much different, despite their claims in the announcement videos to help independent musicians build sustainable careers.

Will “Connect” Actually Connect Artists and Fans?

It seems that Apple Music is trying to compete with Jay Z’s Tidal by offering fans exclusive content at no extra cost. Actually, they are offering “exclusive” content at no cost at all. Anyone— even nonmembers of the streaming service—can access the videos, pictures, and music files that artists upload. This is not good news for independent musicians.

If you are working hard to create exclusive content for your diehard fans, you should be doing it in a way that creates income for you. (Ever heard of patronage?) By making Connect available to everyone, Apple completely negated the “exclusivity” of that content. In essence, it’s the same as putting a video up on YouTube. The key difference is that this content will link directly to your music and artist profile in Apple Music. It’s an important distinction, but it’s not enough. There’s no real way for your content to work for you on Connect.

Apple also did not address royalty payments on Connect. If you upload a demo of your new single, are you being paid whenever fans listen to that demo? Or are you cutting your losses? You spend the time creating a song and recording the demo—not to mention the money you spent on the equipment to do those things—and Apple hasn’t given any indication on whether or not they are going to pay you when fans listen to your “exclusive” content.

Connect also offers nothing new in terms of fan engagement. Fans can comment on the material you upload, and you can comment back. This is exactly what is offered on Facebook and Twitter. Connect is a downgrade when you look at its social media competition (Twitter and Facebook); even Spotify allows private messaging. The only benefit in Connect is that fans don’t have to follow you to see your content and comment on it.

Independent Friendly?

Did I mention that there is a MAJOR problem for independent musicians in the very structure of Apple’s Connect? As an independent artist myself, with music currently on iTunes, I decided to claim my Artist profile on Connect. This is what I found:

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.49.00 AM

I am a fully independent artist with no management company or label. Normally, I would just submit my information the management information and leave the label portion blank, since I am not signed to any kind of label. However, there was no option to communicate that I was not affiliated at all with a record label. I was not able to push the submit button to claim my profile until I had entered information about my (nonexistent) record label.  If Apple is touting that their service is indie-friendly, requiring artists to enter their record label information in order to claim their profile is not the way to go about it.

So far, I have seen nothing about Apple Music that is truly attempting to help independent artists.

What Should Independent Artists Do?

Apple Music’s launch simply adds to the ongoing discussion about streaming and its sustainability. Streaming is great for fans of music, but is this form of music consumption beneficial to the music industry in the long run? How can artists create long-term careers when their sources of income are decreasing in number and scale?

Independent artists have to change the way they think about streaming as a whole. When you look at streaming as a revenue stream, it falls short. No one (not even Pharrell) can make a living purely from the income generated by streaming. It simply isn’t generating enough money.

However, when artists look at streaming as a marketing tool that pays them, the game changes.

If you want people to discover you using streaming services, great! Put your music on Spotify, and Pandora, and Apple Music. Just don’t add your full catalog. Let fans get a taste of your best stuff. Post on Apple’s Connect like you would any other social media tool. Just don’t let these third party websites be the primary way that you interact with and sell music to fans. There are other, better ways to connect with the people who love your music.

In the End

Is Apple streaming a game changer for the music industry? I don’t think so. At the moment, it appears to be nothing more than a company formerly on the leading edge of innovation playing catch-up. Apple Music is not going to revolutionize the music industry.

Instead, changes and revolution will come from independent artists and the choices that we make as content creators.

For more information on Apple Music, check the following websites:


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Rethinking iTunes: It’s An Expensive Cash Register For The Indie Artist

Rethinking iTunes: It’s An Expensive Cash Register For The Indie Artist

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

It’s a story we hear often. An artist thinks that if she can just get her music onto iTunes, it will launch her music career to the next level. After all, she reasons, iTunes is the largest digital music retailer out there, with more downloads than anyone else, isn’t it? Listing my music on iTunes is bound to bring me my big break, or at least a surge of sales, right?  Wrong.

We know that this might fly in the face of everything you’ve heard or believed to be true. Hear us out, and listen to this story.

An Indie Artist Full Of Hope

We know an accomplished artist who released a new album a few years ago. He’d spent a year perfecting the lyrics and rehearsing the music; then, he went to a recording studio and worked until the sound was perfect. Next, he had it mastered by professionals, who did a wonderful job putting it all together. He hired professional, experienced designers to create the right “look” for the album. He was willing to put in the hours and effort, take all necessary steps, and spend the money to put out a top-notch product. He was thrilled with the results, and his hopes were high.

He hired a company to put his music on iTunes. When the album was available, he told all of his existing fans to go buy it on iTunes. Then he sat back and waited for success. Initially, downloads were strong, and he even moved up the iTunes charts. His fans commented that they loved the release, and everyone he knew seemed to own the album.

Soon, though, his sales dropped off. He began to be pretty concerned. After having his new album on iTunes for a year, he compared his sales to the expense of putting together the album. The results were bleak. The increase in exposure that he had expected was not reflected in the sales numbers. Despite the initial surge of sales (which was likely due to his promotion of the album with existing fans), the album had not sold well on iTunes. His profit from the sales on iTunes would not have been enough to recover the cost* of listing the album on iTunes, yet alone the cost of putting the album together. Fortunately, he had not relied solely on iTunes, and he had sold some CDs at gigs. Overall, though, the experience was extremely disappointing.

What Went Wrong?

In our friend’s mind, something had gone wrong. iTunes hadn’t exposed him to a large number of new fans who would purchase his album. Instead, it had functioned as an expensive cash register for his existing fan base. Additionally, he had no way of knowing who had bought his music, which meant he had no way to contact them about future releases. The same is true for most indie artists using iTunes.

So what actually went wrong? Nothing. His initial expectations of iTunes were wrong. It is a familiar place to purchase digital music; it’s not a marketing engine. If you’re expecting iTunes to market your music, you’ll probably wind up as disappointed as our friend. If you expect it to be the cash register that it is, you’ll fare a little better.

However, there are still issues you should be aware of.

Two Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selling Your Music On iTunes

Question #1 – “Am I willing to pay 25% to 40% in fees to sell my music through iTunes when most of the sales are from fans that I send to iTunes?”

We hope your answer is no. Not because you are unwilling to share your success with those that brought you, but rather because you cannot afford to waste money on an over priced cash register that did nothing to bring you along. If you’re taking on all the work and expenses of writing, rehearsing, recording, performing, and promoting the music, why is a third party who sits back and doesn’t do much to promote you worth at least a quarter of your sales? (Remember, you sent most of those fans to iTunes!)

Question #2 – “Will iTunes tell me who purchased my music so I can create a relationship with these fans and hopefully engage them in the future?”

After all, you did just pay iTunes a large percentage of your income, and most of your sales probably came from people you sent to iTunes in the first place. On top of that, it is critically important for artists to know who their fans are. This is a much bigger issue than price. These customers are the people who are most likely to purchase your music in the future or attend your gigs. Knowing who your fans are and creating lasting relationships with them is much more important in the long run than a fee you have to pay to sell your products.

iTunes agrees that the customer data is important. However, they think they are the primary factor driving your sale, not your music. iTunes claims ownership of the fan relationship, and they will not share all the details with you about who purchases your music. Since iTunes is by far the dominant digital music retailer**, they can get away with this.

Should I Even Use iTunes?

In light of what we’ve said above, this next part is going to sound crazy.

The truth is you need iTunes, but not the way you thought you did. It is true that iTunes will not do much to market your music, but it does recommend similar artists or tracks (thus increasing exposure, albeit minimally) to what buyers have purchased or listened to. Also, millions of people use iTunes to download their digital music selections. If someone gets on iTunes and wants to purchase your music, you want it available for purchase. After all, sales are a good thing. Boycotting iTunes altogether means losing out on sales and exposure.

What you shouldn’t do is send people to iTunes to purchase your music. Look into alternative services to sell your music. There are a huge number of them and many do a good job while maintaining a fair and reasonable price. (We’ll provide more on this in future articles.) This can seem to be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Do some research and learn what you can. Only agree to a retail platform if it puts you in control of the sale by telling you who bought from you, what they bought, and how you can communicate with them.

As an indie artist, you can’t count on someone else to do the legwork for you or make you famous, especially if that someone eats into your profits and gets between you and your fans. If you want to be successful as a musician, you must work at your music and work at the business side of the music industry as well. Be prepared to sell physical products as well as downloads. Figure out which marketing tools work best for you and use them. Do not overlook social media. Your website should be part of the equation, too, so be sure it’s working for you, not against you. Be sure that your website and social media profiles are more than just a picture and short bio. You want fans to interact and keep coming back. Remember: whatever you do, engage your fans and own that fan relationship.

While you are researching, remember this. iTunes is a cash register that charges a very high rate for their services while not sharing critical information with you about the purchase, but they are still necessary as a part of your selling process. A small part for sure if you are an indie artist. Just do not count on them to make you famous, you have to do that yourself.

* To be fair, at the time he went through this process, the cost to list music on iTunes was higher than it is today.

** This may be changing. 2013 represents the first year that music download sales on iTunes have decreased from the prior year. We could guess that music streaming has been part of this change, but that’s an entirely different story.


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